Picture a 3.5-mile stretch of white beach with few tourists and no highrises. It’s just you and the waves and the seabirds at Ocean Beach, on the westernmost border of San Francisco, adjacent to Golden Gate Park. Great for strolling and flying kites, but the water is frigid and the currents hazardous for all but the most experienced surfers.
Hold on to your hat. Fort Funston features 200 foot high sandy bluffs on San Francisco’s southwest coast where the winds blow reliably wildly. No surprise it is one of the premier hang-gliding spots in the country. A network of trails make it ideal for hiking and horseback riding. Dog owners will be happy to know they can take leashes off here. It is also home to the Fort Funston Native Plant Nursery.
Stretching a mile below the rugged cliffs on the Presidio’s western shoreline, Baker Beach’s spectacular outside-the-Gate views of the Bridge and the Marin Headlands are unsurpassed. Keep your eye out for harbor porpoises frolicking in the surf and for California’s State Rock (serpentine). Learn about an early 20th-century “disappearing gun”. Picnic and restroom facilities available.
The Parks Conservancy’s signature project, Crissy Field was transformed starting in 2001 from a former military airfield into a vibrant environmental showcase through the generosity of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and Colleen and Robert Haas, as well as thousands of community volunteers and donors.
China Beach is in a tiny cove tucked between Lands End and Baker Beach in the Sea Cliff neighborhood of San Francisco. This sheltered pocket of sand features a picnic area, sunbathing, good play spots for children, and spectacular views of the Marin Headlands and Golden Gate.